This was a big week for me. After getting a bunch of climbing out of the way it was time to put in miles.
With warm weather and slightly longer days, I was able to squeeze out a couple good rides on Tuesday and Wednesday for a total of 75 miles. It felt good to be blazing along on flat stuff again.
Thursday was another Unreal Cycles Thursday Night Ride on Roxy Ann. With all the dry weather, 9 of us showed up to finally have a go at the trails. We weren’t disappointed. After a decently strenuous climb up we enjoyed a very rocky descent down the South side trail. I think Caleb Doane enjoyed it the most as he was the most appropriately geared guy for the descent. He liked it so much, he pushed his bike back up one particularly rocky section for a second run at it. Um. Don’t mind the flat tire at the bottom.
Nothing to see here….
Saturday was all about hours on the bike again. I set out at 6 am with a planned 12 hour day and a good bit of climbing ahead of me.
It was in the low 30’s as I rolled out, but no fog this time and by 8 o’clock I was taking my first break across the road from Callahan’s Lodge with a few thousand feet of gain already behind me.
A rather cold 6 mile descent with just enough gravel in the corners to make unmentionable body parts pucker and I was back cruising along Emigrant Lake with Jacksonville Hill as my next climbing destination. Aside from all the poor/oblivious drivers, the climb was uneventful. I took a left at the top and made my way to Sterling Creek to climb up to Woodrat for the third time in 2 weeks (did I mention I like that road?).
Thankfully, by the time I descended into Buncom, the temps had moved up into the 50s. I was feeling good with about 80 miles under my belt and began my trek through the Applegate Valley towards Grants Pass. Riding through the Applegate is at once both beautiful and SCARY AS HELL!!! As the locals know, The Applegate is home to a bunch of wineries. In turn, it is also a place where a bunch of people go wine tasting and then drive on the same road I was riding on in the middle of a beautiful wine tasting-inviting type of day. Aside from the time a huge truck was passing a not as huge truck and was so close to hitting me head on that I had to bail off the bike into the gravel ditch, it was a pleasant stretch of road.
I try not to dwell on close calls. Moving on…
I had been riding into a light headwind all the way to Grants Pass so I was pretty excited to make the turn and head back towards Medford and home. Unfortunately, yet as usual, the wind somehow mysteriously shifted and my anticipated tailwind turned into more headwind. Oh well, I’m sure the desert breezes in a few weeks won’t be any better.
As I started to approach Central Point, as well as the 10 hour mark, my body was feeling the effects of not enough water and not enough caloric intake. I had felt pretty good up until somewhere around mile 115. My legs were still pumping but the rest of me felt like crap. Of course, that’s when I ran over something and instantly flatted.
Changing a tube is not my favorite thing. Changing it when I’m trying to keep my mph average up and I’m weak is less fun, but 10 minutes of cussing later I was back on the road and getting ready to roll into Unreal Cycles for another quick break.
What service!!! As I walked up to the front door, there was super-cool proprietor, and mechanic-extraordinaire Derek Starr waiting for me. He graciously set me down in a chair, filled my water bottles (which were dry), and let me snack on some salty chips I had stashed there the night before while he did a quick check of the bike. Awesome.
Body fueled up and tires properly aired up, I said goodbye to Derek and pedaled off to finish the ride.
It was a long day in the saddle and I’m writing this at the same time I would normally be doing a Sunday ride. I decided I would take an extra day off the bike.
I guess with 170 miles and nearly 7300 feet of climbing in 12 hours I can cheat a little today.
3 weeks until Joshua Tree and I’m done with the big training rides.
Now, it’s just maintain and finish the job!